Anyone going tonight? I'm curious to hear about it.
Pretty curious to hear what people think of this.
I am as well. We loved the show in Chicago. I enjoy a redemption story and one based on a real person makes it more impactful to me. John Newton did some vile things in his life and they didn't sugar coat them. The slave trade was horrific and seeing it depicted live was painful to watch. Newton acted out of ignorance and fear and was just charming enough for me to become invested in his story (admittedly knowing the ending helped.) I find it encouraging and uplifting that Newton could change so drastically and become a force in the abolitionist movement in England. It gives me hope for today as we are still facing that same fear and ignorance. Perhaps we as a society can change. I think they downplayed the religious angle and the show did not feel 'preachy' at all. The cast have incredibly strong voices and it's almost worth the price of admission just to hear them sing. It's well acted and I found the costumes and staging to be gorgeous.
According to interviews I've read they've changed the show based on the reviews. Chuck Cooper's role is expanded and we will now see the story through his POV. I'm looking forward to seeing how the show has evolved since Chicago.
I like theatre that challenges me and makes me feel something and this show certainly did. I can't think of a better time than now for a show that addresses slavery and racial discrimination head on in all its ugliness. It could be a very important piece of American Musical Theatre if the title doesn't scare people away. I hope people give it a chance.
well said ^^^
Ali333, do you happen to remember the running time?
"Ali333, do you happen to remember the running time?"
I thought it was around 2.5 hours but since they're changing the story I'm not sure that will be helpful to you.
Looking through some of the dates on Ticketmaster... It does not look like it is selling well. At all.
Ali - can you ask your boss if any changes were made from out of town tryouts to broadway?
Jordan, when are you seeing it
"Ali - can you ask your boss if any changes were made from out of town tryouts to broadway?"
Oh if only that were the case! You bet I would.
I've lurked here long enough to know the drill. A new member who posts about a new show on the day of its first preview must be a shill. Actually I'm a St. Louisan who finally signed up to reply to a Muny question and then added the St. Louis national tour info before replying to this. I may post more after our NYC trip in August. Unless there are more Muny threads.
Did Whizzer go tonight?
Did... anyone go tonight?
What if it's like The Baker's Wife and only 7 audience members showed up?
Nothing on Twitter was posted.... Only news sites reporting that previews started
Yes, I was there tonight. It just got out a little before 11pm and trust me, I felt every goddamn minute of it!
The show begins with a prologue delivered to the audience by Chuck Cooper. He wonders aloud to the audience, "How could the hands that enslaved so many also write the words that inspired so many other people?" Clearly subtlety was not going to be in this show's DNA. The creators decided to go more with a hit them over the head with a rubber mallet approach.
Act One was deathly dull, giving new a depth of meaning to the phrase "crashing bore." It just plodded along aimlessly and seemingly without end. Alas, it was nearly devoid of camp too. They seemed to attempt a 1776 style: focus on the book and give a history lesson. The songs reminded of the crowd scenes of A Tale of Two Cities. They didn't have the soaring bombast of a Les Miserables or Jekyll & Hyde, but rather little harpsichord type ditties that I suppose wanted to emulate Cool, Cool Considerate Men, although even to make the comparison is a grievous insult to Mr. Dickinson's number.
As tempting as it certainly was to flee at intermission, Act Two finally delivered on some of the camp that I longed for in Act One. A new character of an African Princess complicit in the slave trade is introduced and she was riot.
The score was so forgettable; tunes that went nowhere and lyrics, that while never (too) embarrassing, I suppose could kindly be called pedestrian. Some songs sorely lacked buttons leaving the audience no place to applaud, assuming they wanted to in the first place. If someone had to write this score it's a shame that it wasn't Wildhorn. He at least would have cranked out a few memorable tunes to rival the title song.
I know it was only the first preview, but most of the actors were in the out of town try-out, so I don't understand how so many of the accents were so awful. Not since Constantine's dozen or so mystery accents in the last J&H revival have I heard such distracting work. If there were 20 actors on the stage you heard 25 accents in any given scene.
In fairness to Josh Young he is saddled with a completely hateful and uninvolving character, but with that said he didn't really find any way to overcome the horrible man he was asked to play and make me feel anything for him. It was a completely cold performance, no matter how well he sings. It reminded me a little of James Barbour's character in A Tale of Two Cities, but Barbour turned a scoundrel into a lovable guy with warmth and charm.
Erin Mackey was in good voice too, but has a dull as dirt character to play. Tom Hewitt was better in Dr Zhivago, which goes to show just how dire his role is here.
Even the usually reliable Chuck Cooper struggled to make much of an impression. His part is small and his one solo isn't well-crafted. Cooper took a small role in Finian's Rainbow and really wowed with The Begat. Here he's thrown crumbs and tries his best.
Everyone (minus the aforementioned Princess) plays it pretty straight except for Chris Hoch, who plays a cartoony, mustache-twirling villain that feels like he was plucked out of some knockoff Gilbert and Sullivan piece. He's inexplicably given the final song (though not final scene) of Act One when it should so clearly go to Josh Young.
Overall it was a very unpleasant experience and I couldn't wait for it to end.
"Overall it was a very unpleasant experience and I couldn't wait for it to end."
Was that the audiences general response as well? Was there even an audience?
I was sitting in the center mezz and both the right and left side sections were basically completely empty.
The audience was fairly quiet throughout. Most jokes landed with a thud. Josh hit a few big notes that received some applause, but mostly I would say it was tepid...that is until the end. There is no mention of the song "Amazing Grace" until the epilogue when Cooper comes back out and is like, Oh yeah, and by the way, this guy also wrote a bunch of hymns and this is one of them. This audience was very into it, and some people were even singing along! Of course it didn't hurt that it was the first tuneful song we heard all evening.
The audience was mostly quiet throughout though.
Thanks Whizzer. I'm obliged to see it and going next week. Sounds like a double espresso before curtain.
I think I will be skipping this even if I can get a free ticket.
Yowza. Seems like the first new musical of both this AND last season came out with a big fat thud. Zzzzz. At least Holler got SOME praise from audiences.
Holler was far better than this. It never had a chance, but it was more ambitious than Amazing Grace and the performances were involving enough, or at the very least enthusiastic.
I don't think Amazing Grace stands much of a chance either. More than likely it will join its fellow brethren of Scandalous, Leap of Faith and Into the Light on the heap.
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